Some of the main characters and plot lines were different, and the setting was over 700 miles north of where Monday’s collapse took place, but the Philadelphia 76ers choked away another huge lead on Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks and are now one more loss from seeing their season come to a premature finish.
Everything that seemed to be going right in the first half Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center, and even through most much of the third, disappeared in the pivotal fourth quarter. At the end of the night, it was the second consecutive game where the Sixers blew a double-digit edge and ultimately lost by three.
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Now trailing the upstart Hawks 3-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals and headed back south for Friday night’s Game Six, the Sixers’ magical season is on life support. Whether fans choose the notoriously poor free throw shooting of Ben Simmons, a rare dud from fan favorite Tobias Harris, getting crushed by the Atlanta bench unit, or the coaching of Doc Rivers, any one of those could make for strong arguments as the biggest reason for the 76ers fumbling away a 26-point lead.
Even with a historically big bounce back start to Game Five for Joel Embiid and the lights out shooting from Seth Curry – who set another playoff career-high in the defeat – Trae Young and company were able to do the seemingly unthinkable on the road. Unsurprisingly, Twitter exploded in madness, sadness, shock and some celebration after the game.
‘This is Potentially a Franchise-Defining Loss’
With a collapse as epic as Wednesday night’s, Twitter of course had a field day. Some tweets were simply pointing out mind-blowing statistics from the comeback.
Some others meanwhile, were putting this choke job into context and said it was one of, if not the biggest one in Philadelphia sports history.
And obviously, those Sixers fans in attendance for Wednesday’s meltdown were not in a good mood afterwards.
If the Sixers can win Game Six on the road on Friday, they’ll get a shot at redeeming themselves in front of their home fans in Game Seven on Sunday night.
Trae Young Dominates, Lou Williams Turns Back the Clock
On the other side, Atlanta is in celebration mode and has to feel great about its chances at the series upset after two straight monster comebacks. When you’ve got one of the best young stars in the NBA in Trae Young on your team, no lead seems to be safe for the opponent.
Young got significant help in the second half though, and it wasn’t exactly from the usual suspects of Clint Capela, Bogdan Bogdanovic and John Collins. 34-year-old Lou Williams, playing in his 15th year in the Association, was critical to the Hawks’ come-from-behind stunner.
Game Six is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off on Friday night.